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'My Fitness Mission'- June.

on Tuesday, 08 July 2014.

I am interrupting my week or so of holiday posts to post my latest fitness mission update.  When I started trying to get fit back in January, I didn't really deep down think I would stick at it. Pessimistic perhaps but after many wasted gym memberships, two day 'diets' and numerous 'I will start tomorrow's', I wasn't holding out much hope.  But June has been and gone and I have managed to stick at it for the last six months, I am really proud of myself and it definitely has changed my life for the better.  I feel the healthiest I have ever been which is saying something.

Back on the 1st January 2014 I snapped a couple of photos of myself in the mirror with my iPhone.  I wasn't ever planning on sharing them, it was mainly so I could look back and see whether I could notice any difference as the months went past.  However I am being brave and sharing them on here, as I think it just goes to show what a difference six months can make.  I am really nervous, after all it's not every day you show your wobbly bits to the internet, but hopefully it will inspire other people who are thinking about trying to get fitter or feel better about themselves.

six months of fitness

(Note to self- Must remember to clean mirror!)

I have never been overweight but as you can see from the photos I had what you can only describe as a spare tyre round my tummy.  A bit of it was still excess baby weight, but it mainly was from having an unhealthy lifestyle- I would eat chocolate at least twice a day, sharing a large treat bag with Mr E almost every night. In all I have lost a stone and a half, although this fluctuates by a couple of pounds each month if I over indulge or don't do as much exercise.  I have also lost almost 6 and a half inches from my waist.  I am shocked by the change in the two photographs as obviously you don't see the change gradually.  It really has made a difference to my life- I have a lot more energy, I feel healthier, am enjoying buying clothes again and just generally feel happier as well.  Plus I have gained a new hobby when it comes to running, although some months I enjoy it more than others.

Here is how I got on in June...

 

Exercise

 

June has been a bit of a strange month when it comes to exercise.  On one hand, I have not done anywhere near as much running as I would have liked to, mainly because my knee has been playing up so I have had to rest it for a few days inbetween each run, but on the other hand I have experienced some new milestones.  On Father's Day I took part in my first ever race- a local 10k race.      I was so nervous beforehand, but I managed to complete it in 51 minutes 30, which is a new personal record for me.  I was 32nd out of 203 females running in the race and 202nd out of all 518 runners, so I was pretty pleased with myself.

However I have really only been getting out for a run about once a week which isn't ideal, although I have been doing the odd kettlebell workout at home too.  While we were on holiday last week, I impressed myself by getting up early in the morning and going to the gym on four different occasions, although I only did about twenty minutes on the treadmill as it was so hot!

My half marathon is next month and I am terribly nervous as I really haven't been training properly and I still have only done 8 miles at the most.  Let's hope it goes ok!

 

Food.

 

June has not been great in terms of eating, some days I have been good, but on the whole we have eaten out way too much.  I also went on holiday to Rhodes and as anyone who is trying to be good knows, a holiday is bound to throw a spanner in the works.  I drank cocktails every night, ate numerous ice creams and over indulged far too much in the evening buffet.  The puddings each night were divine- yummy creme brulees, creamy mousses and chocolate cake, and as I was on holiday I just couldn't resist filling my plate once. (or twice!)

 I am not strict enough to weigh myself (I don't have scales in my house so only do it when I go somewhere where there are some!) but I can tell that my jeans are a little tight so I think I am going to have to work a little harder this month.  That is my main problem- I just cannot resist sweet treats if they are in front of me. 


Overall.


One of the main reasons I started this fitness mission back in January was because I wanted to feel comfortable in a bikini on our holiday.  And while I still didn't feel completely comfortable as I do still have a wobbly tummy at the bottom, I embraced it and wore one for the first time since Mads was born three and a half years ago.  I know I won't have the figure that I had in my early 20's again, having my little ladies has changed my body, but I finally feel comfortable enough (sometimes) in my own skin to realise that's ok.  I made two little humans and as long as I eat healthily most of the time, do some exercise at least a couple of times a week and have a postive outlook, then I will feel pretty good. 

I wonder what the next six months will bring!

'My Fitness Mission'- May.

on Thursday, 05 June 2014.

I know I say it every month but May really came and went in a blink of an eye.  I am still dedicated to my fitness mission and lifestyle change, but it's been hard this month due to a few different reasons.  June brings a busy time for us, with two weekends away and our holiday to Rhodes, so of course lots of meals out, plus not as much chance to exercise.

I have been suffering with my health again this month.  I rarely get poorly but I still have this ongoing sickness.  The doctors think it may be an allergy but still aren't sure and I am waiting for further tests to try and get to the bottom of what the problem is.  It affects my exercise as it can leave me with no energy for a couple of days after.  Hopefully they will be able to figure out what it is soon.

Here is how I got on in May...

 

Exercise

 

I did something crazy this month- I signed up to a marathon.  A MARATHON.  I still can't believe it.  It isn't until next April, so I have plenty of time to train but all my family think I am mad as obviously 26 miles is a very long way.  I feel a bit sick when I think about it, but I hope that I can do it.  I would love to be able to say that at least once in my life I ran a marathon.  I never thought I would say that six months ago.

Running has been a little hit and miss this month.  Due to being poorly plus being busy I haven't been able to go out on as many runs as I normally would have done.  I also haven't had time to do any longer runs so have only been doing my usual 5k route.  I have my first ever 10k race in 2 weeks so I really ought to be doing longer runs, but I just haven't felt up to it.  I also have been having a bit of trouble with my knee hurting after each run, so I have been resting it more than normal.

Negative aspects aside, I went to my first park run last week.  Park Run is amazing, it's free weekly 5k timed runs in your local park and I was nervous as I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it.  It was really motivating running with other people and everyone was really supportive and nice. I also love that you got a time and results, it was like friendly competition.  There were 204 people running the one last week and I came in 73rd and was the 13th female.  I found it really interesting comparing my time to others.  I will definitely go back, but we have a busy few weekends so I am not sure when.  

I have also still been doing the odd kettlebell workout every now and again but this has slipped a little this month- I really enjoy it as a form of exercise and I was noticing I was getting stronger so I do need to start to try and do it a little more.

 

Food

 

I have had a varied diet this month.  On the one hand I am still eating reasonably well and watching what I put into my body, trying to eat more vegetables and fruit, but on the other hand I have indulged in quite a few sweet treats.  I don't have any self control and if we open a pack of biscuits or a chocolate bar, I have to eat it all. 

I was trying to eat a healthy breakfast, as I am so bad at skipping it, usually strawberries and natural yoghurt or some fruit, but I still don't do it every day.  I also have a really bad habit of picking at the girl's dinners if they don't eat them all.  This is really not good, so I need to try and stop this!

My one weakness is still diet coke, I just cannot help but have a bottle a day, sometimes more.  I am aware of how unhealthy it is, but I just love it so much.  I also have really got worse at drinking water, I can go all day without drinking any, so I am going to make a conscious effort this month to try and start drinking more again. 

Although it sounds all negative when it comes to food in May, it hasn't been, we have still generally been eating reasonably healthy and eating smaller portions.  We have indulged in treats but I don't see this as a bad thing, as long as it's not every day like we used too.

 

Overall

 

I have been disappointed in my lack of running this month, but I have still managed at least once, if not twice a week.  Hopefully June will be different.  I need to start training as I have less than eight weeks till my first half marathon!  Eeeek!  I haven't run over eight miles yet so I really need to start looking at training plans.  

I have actually lost a little bit more weight and I do need to be careful not to lose any more.  I think this is more down to the fact that I have been poorly rather than through exercise or eating.  I am still struggling with the fact that although I have lost weight everywhere else, my tummy is still rounded.  I do realise I have had two children and it is never going to be flat like it was in my early 20's, but I do want to try and tone it a little more.  

My goals for June are to start my half marathon training plan, do at least one more park run, run three times a week and drink more water.  Hopefully these are achievable!

my fitness mission may

Check out my fitness mission in...

April

March

February

January

 

 

 

Some Questions About Running...

on Wednesday, 28 May 2014.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, regular readers of this blog will know that back in January I started a simple mission- to lose the last of my baby weight, get fit and above all feel better about myself.  After years of starting faddy diets or exercise attempts and then sticking to them for literally a few days, I didn't hold out much hope that this time would be different.

But this time it has been different.  I have found a passion in running and I can honestly say that it has changed my life.  It has made me feel like a new person and I am loving the way it has changed my mind set, my body and my health.  I have gone from having many wasted gym memberships, horrific attempts at Zumba classes and getting out of breath when walking up the stairs to signing up to three races this year so far, including two half marathons.  I never ever would have thought I would be typing that. 

I am by no means an expert on running nor have I had any professional advice on starting out, but I get lots of messages and emails from people asking me different questions about my running journey.  I thought I would put together some of the ones I get asked the most.  I really am just a beginner and this is just my thoughts- it might not be right, but I love to read about other people's fitness journeys and I read a lot of running blogs, so I hope that these questions will help anyone who wants to start running but is scared to give it a go...

my running journey

 

Had you ever run before?

 

No.  I used to run cross country at school once a year and hated it and that was literally it.  I have never run regularly before and thought it was something I really wouldn't enjoy but I really love the way it makes me feel.  I have never stuck at regular exercise, having so many wasted gym memberships but I have stuck to running so far.

 

 How did you start?

 

I just ran.  I know that there are a lot of Couch to 5k programmes which encourage you to get the best out of running by combining slow walks with running over a period of a few weeks but I didn't bother with this. I literally just started running a mile, slowly without stopping.  Then after a week or so I began to add a mile or so each time with the aim to get to 5k. (approx 3.1 miles) I never ran flat out, preferring to just go steady.  If I felt like I needed to stop or walk for a few seconds I would do, and then I carried on.  Within a couple of weeks I could run 5k without stopping, although sometimes I was quicker than others.

 

What trainers do you use?

 

When I first started running I just used my regular old Nike Airs and my very unused gym kit.  However I found that my feet and knee were hurting after each run, so much so that I would be in a lot of pain.  After some research I decided to go to my local Up and Running store to seek their advice.  They have a fabulous service where they analyse your running style on a treadmill and they found that I over pronate which basically means my foot turns outwards when running.  They suggested I needed a sturdier shoe so recommended me the Saucony Guide 7's which have a bit more support than a normal trainer.  They weren't cheap, about £100ish, but since that day I haven't had any more pain.  It's worth the investment for something that I use a lot but if you haven't got pain then I am sure normal trainers will do the trick.

saucony guide 7

 

 Do you have any special kit?

 

Yes and no.  I just use my regular old gym kit for running. (check out Aldi who bizarrely do really cheap but nice gym stuff!) I also have a great cheap sports bra from TK Maxx which keeps my wobbly bits in check.  My only indulgence rather than my trainers is my Nike Sports Watch which Mr E bought me for my birthday.  It keeps track of your times, distance, calories and route and I wouldn't be without it.

nike sports watch

 

How do you record your results?

 

Although some people just run and don't care about beating their own records, I find it motivates me to see if I am improving.  When I first started I used to run with my iPhone and record the times with Nike Plus, it is free from the App store and I can't recommend it enough.  There is like a little community on there, you can see how your friends have run, what their personal bests are and challenge each other to compete.  It is really motivating to try and beat your results each time.  I now use the watch which syncs back to the community each time.  I also use FitSnap to post my photos to Instagram as I like to have a record of each run- this is also free and I love to play around with it.  Although not everyone's cup of tea, I love to post my photos to social media as I find other people's photos really inspiring.

 

How often and how far do you run?

 

I normally try to run at least two times a week, but I aim for three.  I do two short runs, I have found a perfect 5k route that leads me back to my house so I do that in the week and then I do a longer run at the weekends.  I have been slowly building up my miles (I read somewhere you should increase your distance by 10% each week) and so far the most I have run is 8 miles as sometimes I don't have time to do a longer run.  I actually find that I enjoy the longer runs  more as I don't push myself as hard as I am trying to keep my stamina going.  Life gets in the way sometimes though and I have been poorly quite a bit recently so that has occasionally stopped me from running.  

 

Do you run flat out?

 

I don't run at my maximum level as I find that I get so tired that I don't enjoy the run.  I do know that you are supposed to do interval running (e.g run as fast as you can for a minute then slow down and repeat) but as yet I haven't tried this.  I basically run at probably 70% of my maximum stamina and then occasionally push myself a little bit harder.

 

How do you find the time?

 

I used to be one of these people that said I don't have time for exercise but a 5k run takes me less than half an hour.  I used to make excuses but the reality is if I can sit and absent mindedly flick through social media for an hour, I can fit in a run.  I normally go just when my husband has come home from work, after I have given the girls dinner as I find once we have got them to bed I cannot be bothered and lack motivation.  At the weekends I go when they are napping in the afternoon or I sent my alarm earlier and go out before they wake up.  

 

What do you eat before a run?

 

I really don't know what the proper way is here, but I find that if I eat before hand I feel sick.  So if I go out first thing in the morning I won't eat breakfast and if I go out in the afternoon I will make sure that I haven't eaten for at least an hour beforehand.  I then will drink lots of water and eat a cereal bar, some fruit or a smoothie when I get back.

 

Do you listen to music?

 

Yes.  I know that a lot of people say, especially in races, that you shouldn't listen to music, but I really enjoy putting on my music and running.  I turn it down low enough so I can still concentrate on my breathing and hear if there are any cars or people nearby.  I do get bored of my music so change my playlists often, Mr E got me an iPod shuffle for my birthday as a present from the girls so it's lightweight to use when I am out and about.

 

What are your personal bests?

 

I really find that pushing myself to beat my goals helps keep me motivated.  I started off in January running 5k in about 33 minutes and 10k in an hour and as of today my personal bests are 25.09 for my 5k and 54.22 for my 10k.  I obviously don't beat these every time but I get excited when I do!  They aren't particularly fast compared to some people but I enjoy getting a buzz from breaking my own records.

 

What keeps you motivated?

 

I really do struggle sometimes to get out there and run, usually I find the first half a mile hard and want to turn back.  It sounds cheesy but I try and think to myself about how far I have come and how I feel now when I find a pair of my jeans fit well that haven't fit for years.  I also have signed up for three races- a 10k in June and 2 half marathons in August and October so I have something to aim towards.  Having a goal definitely keeps me motivated and training so I plan to sign up to lots of races next year too.

 

Have you changed your diet?

 

Yes and no.  I had a pretty horrific diet before, eating large portions and being a real victim of snacking.  Myself and my husband had got in the habit of having a 'treat' most evenings- sharing a large bar of chocolate or a packet of biscuits.  To initially lose the weight I cut down on my portions and eliminated the snack element of my diet.  However now I am down to my goal weight, I do endulge and will have at least a couple of treats a week, I just make sure that I don't go as crazy as I used too.  I have just been doing small things that make a difference, like eating more fruit and veg, and swapping things like normal potatoes for sweet potatoes. 

 

What results have you seen so far?

 

I used to get out of breath walking up the stairs so running has dramatically helped my fitness levels and my overall wellbeing.  I have also managed to lose just over a stone and a half in weight and lose five inches from around my tummy.  I also have gone from a dress size 12-14 to an 8-10 which I haven't been since I was in my early 20's. I definitely contribute all of this to running and whilst I still have a wobbly tummy, I am now proud as I can say that this is definitely just from having two babies rather than too many cupcakes!

 

 

***This post may be a little self-indulgent and like I said, I am most certainly not an expert, just a beginner who is really enjoying it.  But I know that I love to hear about other people's running so I hope that this may help anyone thinking about starting to run.  I can honestly say that it is one of the best things I have ever done.  If you prefer photos of my ladies, then they will be back soon, just mixing it up a bit! ;) ***

 

 

 

 

'My Fitness Mission'- April.

on Friday, 02 May 2014.

I cannot believe we are now in May and I have been trying to get fit since January.  It is definitely the longest I have EVER kept committed to exercise, my previous being about a week.  There are a lot of wasted gym memberships haunting my past.  

I really don't know what it is that has made me stick at it this time, I think a lot of it is down to finding an exercise I enjoy plus I have started to see results as well.

Anyway here is my progress for April....

 

Exercise

I still love going running and I am becoming more passionate about it every week.  Unfortunately like last month I have been having ongoing health issues due to reoccuring sickness bugs, so as such my running has been hampered slightly as it takes me a few days to recover.  However I have still managed at least twice a week.

I have got myself into a little routine where I will run 5k one or two times a week and then a longer run at the weekend.  This can range from 5 miles up to 8 being my furthest so far, although I am going to slowly start to increase my miles each weekend as long as I am feeling well.  I really get a buzz from beating my own records, last month my fastest 5k time was 26.35, it's now 25.09 so I am really pleased with my progress.  My fastest 10k time is 54.22.

I do struggle sometimes with motivation to go out, getting on my trainers is hard work and I usually find that the first half a mile I want to turn round and go home!  But I usually find that I soon start to relax and actually enjoy it, especially when the sun is shining.

On top of running I have been doing kettlebell workouts at home, usually only 10-20 minutes twice a week.  I have been following either this one or this one on You Tube.  I started off using 4kg which Mr E bought me for my birthday but I soon found that I needed a slightly heavier weight so he bought me a 8kg one a couple of weeks ago.  I find that perfect for me at the moment as I am so weak and have no muscle anywhere.  I am hoping eventually I will start to see some!

 

Food

 

My diet has been shocking again this month.  The Easter bunny came and while it was very kind of him to leave us lots of chocolate, he also took my willpower with him.  We still have chocolate in the house and I cannot help but have a little nibble.  We also have had another fair few meals out this month, which again isn't good for my pennies or my waist line, and I have found myself saying 'Oh I will just have this one treat and be good the rest of the week' but then eating awfully all week.  

I really do want to try and eat more healthily, just because I know that it will make me feel better, but I just really struggle as I am addicted to carbs and sweet things.  The water mission hasn't been going well again this month either, with diet coke being my drink of choice and not much water drunk during the day.  In May I really will try harder.

 

Overall

 

April has yet again been a strange month with me being poorly on and off and my healthy eating not going so well, but on an exercise level it has gone reasonably well.  I have actually gone under my goal weight of nine stone, we don't have scales in my house but when I weighed myself at my Grandmas a week or so ok I weighed 8 stone 12lb.  This is actually a little too low for me, although I think I will have put a bit more on again the next time I check.  I think a lot of this is due to being poorly rather than my diet or exercise.  

I measured myself this evening and I have lost another inch around my waist meaning that since January I have lost five inches overall.  I find this quite unbelievable really as obviously you don't really notice the difference as it happens gradually.  My tummy is still rounded and is by no means flat, but then I have had two children so I am not expecting miracles.  I am trying to work on toning that area but I also am still a little worried that I have a diastasis recti and I don't want to make it worse.

I stopped breastfeeding in April and unfortunately my chest has somewhat diminished after two pregnancies and two babies.  I think it is time to invest in some padded bras!  However I don't look at this in a negative way because I am so proud that I managed to feed my two beautiful children.

Overall I am feeling pretty happy about what I have achieved this month but I am hoping May will prove to be even better in terms of my fitness.

 

myfitnessmissionapril

 

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